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Tetragrammon...

Tetragrammon...

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I planned to talk about the four worlds of Kabbalah next, but realized I either needed to first discuss the Tetragrammon or discuss them together.  Discussing them together would have turned into a far longer post than I wanted to do.

יהוה

The Tetragrammon, the four letter name of G-d which isn't aloud to be spoken, is the foundation of Kabbalah in a lot of ways.

There are several things to consider to understand Kabbalah. First is the importance on numerology. Each Hebrew letter has a number value (1-9,10-90[tens],100-400[hundreds]). There are 22 letters in the Hebrew Alphebet. These values can be added, and they can be reduced by adding the digits, among other things. These numerical values are important. Second is meaning. Each Hebrew letter has both a literal meaning and a mystical meaning. Both can tell us a lot about both the letters and the words they make up.

As the name implies, the Tetragrammon is made up of four letters. Some places it is written יהוה and others יהוי. Hebrew is read right to left instead of the left to right we are used to, so the first spelling is י (yod) ה (heh) ו (vev) ה (heh) and the second is י (yod) ה (heh) ו (vev) י (yod).


Yod is drawn as a curve, or a bar with tails, one end going up into infinity and the other down into infinity. It is impossible to tell where the ink ends and the paper begins on each tail. One goes up toward Kether and the other down to Malkuth. Yod means hand and mystically, it's the point of infinite potential suspended in the void of the contraction, tzimtzum. As hand, Yod is G-d reaching into His creation, reaching for His bride, which is Vev. As the point, Yod is the seed from which all other letters, and the entire Tree of Life grows. Yod is the number ten. Now Yod is spelled יוד, yod, vev, daleth. Vev is 6 and daleth is 4, so vev + daleth = 10 = yod. Vev means hook or and. Daleth means door or having nothing of her own, Malkuth, the Kingdom, which only exists because of Kether. So, yod is the infinite potential unrealized and daleth is the finished product, the end result of that potential. Vev ties the two together. Yod is ten, which reduces to 1, which is aleph, the ox which is strength, and the first eminition of G-d. Now, Aleph can be seen either as a line with a Yod on each side, the seed of Creation above reflecting in the world below, or is can be seen as a Yod on one side, the line being Vev, and the reflection being Daleth, which brings us back to YVD, Yod. When the Tetragrammon is spelled יהוי, there is a lesser and greater Yod. The greater is reflected in the lesser. The greater is the man above, which is G-d and the lesser is the man below, the image of G-d. This is aleph shown as a line with yods reflected.



Heh is drawn much more complex than either Yod or Aleph. It has a roof across the top with a leg coming down from the right side. On the roof is tag and under the roof on the left side is an upside down yod. Basically, Heh is a daleth with an upside down yod under it. Heh means window and is the mystical first breath. G-d breathed into the world and brought it about. Kether is breath and Chokmah is breath from breath. As the window, Heh is that which we see true Truth through. We look through the window to so G-d and G-d looks at us through that window. As breath, Heh is what came first and settled out to fire above, water below, and air between. The fire is shim, the tooth, which is the Pillar of Mercy and the path connecting Chokmah, Wisdom, to Binah, Understanding. Water is mem, which means sea or ocean, and is the Pillar of Severity and the path connecting Netzach, Victory, to Hod, Glory. Air is Aleph, which we discussed above, which is the Pillar of Mildness and the path connecting Chesed, Mercy, to Geburah, Judgment. So, out of Heh comes the three Mothers. The number value of Heh is 5. Heh is written as two Hehs, הה, which is 5+5 = 10 = Yod. When the Tetragrammon is written יהוה, there are two Hehs, a lesser and a greater. These represent the Supernal Mother and the Inferior Mother. I'll explain these more below.



Vev is drawn as a shorter bar, a head, rounded down to a pointed leg. It looks kind of like an icicle hanging from the edge of a roof. Vev means hook, and also "and". It is first used in the Torah when it says "and G-d said..." As the hook, Vev is the hook that holds up the curtains in the Temple. Vev is the idea of Other. With Kether, there was no concept of Self or Other. With Chokmah, there is Self, but no Other. Vev is the separation into two, Self and Other. Vev is also symbolic of the lower man and the bride, two separate but one. Hence it is marriage and the coming together of husband and wife, of Eve coming out of Adam and the two coming back together as one. Vev is 6, which is symbolic of man and the creation, hence of man or creation being the bride of G-d. Vev is written as two Vevs, וו, which is 6+6 = 12 = Yod Beth, יב. Beth is house, so Yod Beth can be seen as the dwelling place of the seed. 12 reduces to 3, which is Gimel, which means camel and represents a rich man running after the poor man, daleth, to give him charity. Gimel is making a change in this world out of what G-d gives us. So Vev is the bride and the dwelling place of G-d, reaching out and helping those around us.


Now, the Tetragrammon can be seen on the Tree of Life in many ways. I don't know all of them, and I suspect no one does, and I won't refer to all of the ones I know here, only what is helpful in understanding both the Tree and the Tetragrammon.

First, the letters can be seen looking at the Supernals. Yod can be seen as Kether. It is the seed from which all else comes. Chokmah can be sees as the first Heh, the Father in the Tree. Binah is Vev, the Mother. From Vev and Heh come the second Heh, which can also be Yod and becomes Da'ath, knowing.

Second, we can see Yod as Chokmah, the first thing definable to the created mind. Binah is the Supernal Mother, the first Heh, from which everything below comes. Vev is the six Sepherah below, centered on Tiferah. The second Heh becomes Malkuth, the Kingdom, the world we know, and the Inferior Mother, which the things we know with our senses all come from. Of course, Kether isn't included here. But when we look at the four worlds in the future, it will be shown that Malkuth in one world becomes Kether in the next, so from Heh comes Yod and Heh, and from that Heh comes Vev and Heh again and so on.

Third, we can look at the paths. In the Tree, there are 22 paths connecting the Sepherah. Each path is designated as a letter in the Hebrew alphabet, and the letters tell us a lot about the Tree.

In the Hebrew Tree, the path from Kether to Chokmah is Heh, so breath from breath, Chokmah proceeds from Kether as the breath of G-d. On the Western Hermetic Tree, this path is Aleph, which is the first emanation of G-d into the world. Heh, on this version of the tree, connects Chokmah to Tiferah, Wisdom crossing the abyss in a breath to illuminate Beauty. In the Hebrew tree, this is Zayin, which is used to represent rulership and is the crown of the wife, the husband. It is Vev crowned.

Vev is the path from Kether to Binah, the first separation. Vev creates the first dichotomy, Chokmah and Binah, Wisdom and Understanding, Light and Dark, Male and Female. On the Western Tree, this path is Beth, the house, for when husband and wife are both there, it is a home. On the Western Tree, Vev is the path from Chokmah to Chesed, Wisdom to Mercy. It is Wisdom applied to that which is separated, to others instead of only self. On the Hebrew tree, this path is daleth, the door, and receiving from above.

Yod is the path from Geburah to Tiferah, The shift from Mercy to Judgment balancing back out in Beauty. Tiferah is the reflection down from Kether through Da'ath, hence this path is the returning to the balance of initial seed. In the Western Tree, this path is Lamed, which is learning. After complete Mercy and complete Judgment, we learn balance is necessary. Lamed is the send of wisdom, coming from the brain to impregnate the heart. On the Western Tree, Yod is on the opposite side, Chesed coming to Tiferah, Mercy finding fulfillment in Beauty. On the Hebrew Tree, this is Teth, to knot together and hidden good. Once Yod brings us back to balance after Judgment, Teth knits Mercy back together with it, holding the Tree together.

Fourth, we can look at the Tetragrammon representing each of the four worlds (or vice versa), and this reflected in our three souls and out body. In this arrangement, Yod is the first triad, Kether, Chokmah, and Binah. Heh is the second Triad, Chesed, Geburah, and Tiferah. Vev is the third tirad, Netzach, Hod, and Yesod, and the final Heh or Yod is Malkuth. I will talk about this more when I look at the four worlds.

-ken-
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